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Usually, I am not a big fan of games with a speed element. Nevertheless, I thought Dominique Bodin’s On the Dot might be worth a try since its key mechanic is quite innovative. After giving it a try, I can tell you, speed is not everything you need in order to be successful in this game by Gamewrite and Cocktail Games: you also need spatial sense and good concentration. But to have fun, you don’t need to be an ace at all.
In a small tin box you find 64 task cards (divided into values/difficulties of 1, 2 and 3 points), a short rules instruction and 16 transparent squares (4 of each basic color) with some dots scattered on it.
2. Aim of the Game
You need to arrange all of your 4 squares to exactly replicate the pattern shown on the current task card before one of your opponents does so to get that card and its points. The player who reaches the point total of 9 first, wins the game.
3. Set up
Shuffle all task cards and put them face-down in the middle of the table. Then, every player chooses one color and takes the 4 associated transparent squares. That’s it.
The youngest player flips the top card of the drawing pile so that everybody can see it. All players now hurry to create the same pattern using their four squares. You need to use all of them and they are not allowed to overlap.
An example of a 2-point task:
In the upper part of the photo you can see the task pattern. A first step has already been done in the lower part. I put two of the squares on top of each other in the way that 6 dots are in the right place.
After I turned and twisted my third square a couple times, it seemed to fit the overall pattern well but some colors were false. Therefore, I needed to change the order of the three squares by putting the third card in between the other ones (see picture above).
The next photo shows the final pattern created with all of my squares. When you think you finished the task correctly you show it by knocking on the task card. Then everybody has to stop immediately. You get the card and its points in case your attempt was correct. If it was wrong, you have to discard one of your already gained task cards (if you have any) and the puzzle continues.
5. My Opinion
On the Dot supports 2-4 players and takes about 10 minutes (but you can change the winning target to whatever value you want if you want to change the duration). I also enjoyed a solo variant in which you can train your brain against the time (I usually use a 30 second sand glass).
All components are of decent quality. However, you will soon find fingerprints on the transparent squares. That isn’t too bad though since they can be cleaned easily.
My main criticism is that the game doesn’t work with every group of people. If some players are really fast in solving puzzles and some others are not, the former ones will mostly win and the latter ones might get bored. However, if your group is on a more or less equal level of puzzling skills, then it will work fine and is fun for everybody.
I can recommend On the Dot to you if you:
• like to solve puzzles under a time constraint
• want to train your brainpower
• enjoy simple games with few rules
• like to have a game that you can carry around easily
>> Originally written for www.yesbo.de/gedankenspiel